Trump tactics bolster momentum for Birther movement
Conspiracy theories are the greatest form of argument ever created. No amount of logic, however well delivered, can beat them. They subvert every action taken against them, even if that action happens to be inaction.
The media loves them because they attract an audience by playing on fears of governments gone awry or unscrupulous, inhumane corporate practices. Conspiracy theories never truly die, either.
Ten years after the event, a drive around Las Vegas will still reveal people standing on corners with their “9/11 Truth” sandwich boards.
Kennedy was shot 47 years ago, and the movement to uncover the conspiracy behind that tragedy is still going strong.
There’s even a group of people who, more than 350 years after Galileo, dispute the idea that the Earth orbits around the sun, claiming that scientists fabricated the evidence. No, I’m not making this up. They’re called “geocentrists,” and they have conventions.
All of this brings me to Donald Trump, who has decided to cash in on the so-called “Birther” conspiracy.
The claim made by Birthers is that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. The basis of this claim is that Obama has refused to reveal his birth certificate.
Now, when people make this argument, they leave a few words out, so what they’re really trying to say is that Obama hasn’t revealed his birth certificate to the public.
Those last three words, “to the public,” are important because no president has ever been obligated to do that.
The fact that his certificate of live birth is posted on the Internet for all to see is already a step above and beyond anything he’s actually required to do.
It was only necessary for Obama to prove his birth credentials, so to speak, to government officials. The claim, then, is not only that Obama is a liar but that the government is corrupt and keeping the truth about the location of his birth a secret.
There’s nothing really new about charges such as these of a government cover-up, but the evidence that Trump has been using showcases some of the best qualities of a conspiracy theory.
For example, Trump is deeply concerned that there aren’t many people who remember Obama’s birth.
He recently said, “You have no nurses — this is the president of the United States — that remember. He could have been born outside of this country.”
Go ahead and ignore the fact that future presidents of the U.S. aren’t born with signs around their necks announcing that unknown fact in order to encourage memories of their birth. That’s of minor note compared to Trump’s next move.
He goes on to ridicule the idea that the governor of Hawaii could possibly remember Obama’s birth, claiming that it’s just a ploy by a fellow Democrat.
And there it is, the true glory of the conspiracy theory, the ability to pick and choose what evidence you accept and what you don’t with no uniform criteria dictating how such a choice is made.
Trump wants a witness to Obama’s birth, but it has to come from a specific source, a source he knows doesn’t exist. All other eye witness claims can simply be waved off as part of the conspiracy itself.
He doesn’t even bother to bring up the fact that a teacher remembers discussing Obama’s birth with the now-deceased pediatrician that delivered him. She’s probably part of the conspiracy, too — sneaky Democrats.
In regard to the announcement of Obama’s birth in a Honolulu newspaper, Trump says that he has never heard of a paper printing a birth announcement — ever. It’s fiction as far as he’s concerned — more fabricated evidence.
This is why conspiracy theories can never be defeated. Any evidence offered against them is simply dismissed as part of the conspiracy.
When Obama’s certificate of live birth was put online, the cries of forgery went up. If he were to produce his birth certificate, then the result would be the same.
Should he continue to ignore the Birthers, the only smart option when dealing with a conspiracy theory, more people like Trump will try to cash in on it. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Trump is a smart man. It’s highly unlikely that he actually believes any of the garbage he’s spewing all over the airwaves. Even Bill O’Reilly called him out on it.
It will endear him to the far right, though, and it will provide great publicity for the launch of a potential presidential campaign.
Seeing a big-name celebrity challenging Obama’s validity might also work to undermine voter confidence in the current president, since many people are all too willing to lend special weight to what celebrities have to say. Like I said, he’s a smart man.